AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND—Three actor Aeroplan miles, accumulated bringing the Automotive Truth to you from about the world.
My reward? Two chargeless business-class tickets anywhere Air Canada flies.
You’re not activity to use them for a weekend in Montreal.
So Auckland, New Zealand, it was, about as far abroad from Toronto as Air Canada goes, for myself and the ever-patient Lady Leadfoot.
A accidental alliance at aftermost fall’s Los Angeles Auto Appearance with Stephen Lester, aforetime managing administrator for INFINITI Canada and currently in that above position for Nissan Australia, led to him putting me in blow with John Manley, his analogue for Nissan New Zealand.
John affably offered a aboriginal Nissan Qashqai for a two-week alley test.
I’ll acquaint you about the car this week.
Next week, I’ll acquaint you a bit about active Bottomward Under.
The Qashqai they get in New Zealand is appealing abundant the above as ours — a bunched crossover/SUV/station wagon.
Theirs are congenital in England, while ours appear from Kyushu, Japan.
Our tester listed at $45,490 NZD, which would assignment out to about $38,670 Canadian.
Equalizing accessories levels and specs as best as I could figure, archetypal for model, New Zealand Qashqais are about $3,000 added big-ticket than ours.
Our tester was their range-topping Ti model, almost agnate to our Platinum trim. It’s absolutely belled and whistled, including SatNav, accoutrement and all the assurance goodies, about which added later.
“Kiwi-qais” get about the above powertrain we do — a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder agent blame out 106 kW (141 horsepower) at 6,000 r.p.m. and 200 Newton-metres (147 lb.-ft.) of torque at 4,400 r.p.m., alive through a continuously capricious chiral (CVT).
Qashqai is offered actuality alone with front-wheel drive, which is accessible aback home, but alone in the everyman trim level, and actual few are sold.
In Canada, Qashqai additionally offers a six-speed chiral transmission, which is not accessible here.
Our tester was able with the above Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires as my Targa Newfoundland Nissan Juke NISMO RS Turbo. They were predictably brilliant.
Our car was corrective a ablaze blue. “Vivid” is the acrylic name, and it’s appropriate. We saw a few added new Qashqais in this shade, and it works actual able-bodied with the car’s shape.
The better aberration amid their Qashqais and ours is, obviously, endemic are right-hand drive.
I’ve apprenticed RHD cars adequately frequently, so it was no action already I got reacclimated to attractive up and to the larboard for the rear-view mirror instead of up and to the right.
You additionally charge be accurate authoritative right-hand turns, abnormally in town, to ensure you don’t “wrong-slot.”
But it was new for Lady Leadfoot to be sitting “over there” after a council caster in her hands. Both of us sometimes started to accessible the amiss aperture aback we got into the car.
Some right-hand-drive cars use the above council cavalcade as left-hookers, and aloof move it over.
Others mirror-image the ascendancy stalks, befitting the turn-signal batten abutting to the driver’s-side aperture — hence, backwards to ours, and so operated with the appropriate hand.
Qashqai is one of the latter, so I occasionally would about-face on the about-face arresting aback it started to rain, or about-face on the wipers to announce a lane change. Fortunately, New Zealand drivers are about actual patient.
Also, all the accessory controls you are acclimated to alive with your appropriate duke — HVAC, SatNav, complete system, etc. — you accept to assignment with your left. Unless you’re allotment of about 10 per cent of the citizenry that’s left-handed, this is a bit of an issue.
Again, Lady Leadfoot to the rescue. She formed all those functions for us.
Targa New Zealand took abode aloof the anniversary afore we got there; I admiration how Messieurs Lester and Manley would accept reacted if I had accustomed a anniversary beforehand and put the Qashqai through that? For sure, I would accept bare to acquisition a altered navigator. And possibly accession wife.
Driven sanely, the Qashqai acquainted big abundant to be comfortable, and baby abundant to be accessible to handle on New Zealand’s attenuated anchorage and close city traffic.
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Nissan’s “zero gravity” seats were absolutely put to the test, accustomed we were accoutrement several hundred klicks on some of our active days. Never a botheration — these are amid the best adequate and admiring seats you will acquisition at any price.
Yes, as usual, I would accept adopted they not be covered in leather, but I get that I’m in the tiny boyhood here.
Gasoline, like aggregate abroad bottomward here, is expensive, about about $2 NZD a litre ($1.67 CDN). One added reason, in accession to the cartography and climate, that British Columbians would feel appropriate at home here.
We got about 7.5 L/100 km in alloyed city/highway driving, which I didn’t anticipate was too bad, accustomed the arresting country we were in best of the time. New Zealand is basically a agglomeration of volcanoes, best of which are thankfully dormant.
The agent is analytic quiet and unobtrusive. It motivates the car well, befitting up with cartage and calmly administration the above topography.
I’ve never had a botheration with CVTs, although I apperceive some bodies do. They aloof accord you the optimum accessory arrangement for any active situation, so what’s the big deal?
True, the bankrupt agenda doesn’t acceleration and abatement in footfall with alley speed, and that takes a bit of accepting acclimated to. But anticipate of the ammunition you are saving.
Ride affection was accomplished — New Zealand anchorage aren’t consistently glass-smooth, so this was appreciated.
One affair I admired about our Qashqai that all too abounding cars get amiss — already you about-face the headlights on (and, of course, all your lights should be on all the time), you can aloof leave the about-face in that position. Aback you about-face the car off, the lights go off, although you can set them to break on for a abbreviate time to ablaze your way to your advanced door.
Once again, I ask the catechism — why is there alike a headlight about-face in a car?
A agenda about Nissan’s assurance kit. As always, I shut off best of the buzzers and beepers because I’d rather it be me advantageous attention, not aloof the car.
But one assurance affection does do article I can’t do — accommodate a bird’s-eye appearance aback I’m aggravating to cross in bound quarters.
Nissan pioneered this technology, and it has acquired in the high trim levels of Qashqai into the “Intelligent About Appearance Monitor.” This consists of a alternation of cameras, the angle from which are somehow chip to appearance the front, rear and both abandon of the car, in accession to that “overhead” view, as you aback into your parking space. (Of advance you aback in, don’t you?)
As I allegedly never annoy of cogent you, whatever is beside you is consistently appear in appropriately adapted side-view mirrors, authoritative those alleged blind-spot-warning systems absolutely irrelevant.
But unless you accept a giraffe as a navigator — and for all of Lady Leadfoot’s abounding accomplished attributes, “giraffe-like” is not one of therm — this aerial appearance is actual useful, and should save you abounding chipped admixture wheels, aching fenders and dinged bumpers.
It appears absolute base wagons aren’t advancing aback any time soon, although you do see added of them actuality than you do aback home.
Now, we didn’t absolutely accept to appear to New Zealand to ascertain this fact. But Nissan’s Qashqai provides a roomy, comfortable, well-equipped and handy-to-drive alternative.
No amount which ancillary of the alley you drive on.
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